Photo Courtesy of The National Zoo
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -Gunnar, a 38-year-old male seal has died at the National Zoo.
Originally from Iceland, Gunnar lived a very full life. He came to the National Zoo in 1979 from the Naval Oceans Systems Center in San Diego where he was apart of the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, and trained to perform underwater tasks during the Cold War for the Navy.
In his career as a Navy seal, Gunnar learned how to use a screwdriver, insert and remove equipment, turn a wheel valve, and retrieve items from the ocean floor while remaining underwater for 20 minutes at a time.
Gunnar was an extraordinary seal in more ways than one as he also outlived the typical lifespan of a wild gray seal by eight years. Female seals live longer with a lifespan close to 40 years.
Gunnar had two female pups named Kara and Kjia who were born at the National Zoo, and currently live at Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey.